GOVERNMENTS TO FINALISE BAN ON WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS CHEMICALS
Polluted communities press for environmental
5 December 2000 - Auckland/Johannesburg: Greenpeace volunteers highlighted the human cost of polluting industries to over 100 governments as they arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa today for the final negotiations on an international treaty to ban some of the world’s most toxic chemicals.11 The chemicals targeted by the toxics treaty are: dioxins, furans, PCBs, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, heptachlor, DDT, dieldrin, chlordane, toxaphene, aldrin and endrin.
Greenpeace volunteers dressed in chemical protection suits, shamed the handful of governments led by the US, that are trying to undermine the treaty. The volunteers held images of people around the world whose health and environment is affected by persistent organic pollutants (POPs), routinely released into the environment by industries.
“Most of these chemicals didn’t exist
fifty years ago. Now they’re building up in the bodies of
every living being on earth. They’re contaminating the food
we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink,” said
Greenpeace campaigner, Sue Connor from the negotiations in
Johannesburg today. “This week, governments are deciding on
the fundamental human rights of people to live in a world
free of toxic chemical pollution. If governments don’t take
this historic opportunity to eliminate all sources of these
dangerous poisons, it’ll be a gross dereliction of duty,”
“The New Zealand government has just
signed off its’ position on this important treaty, and
claims to be taking a “hard line” on these deadly
pollutants”, says Connor.
The minister for the
environment, Marian Hobbs, announced that New Zealand
supports “the desirability of a long term goal to eliminate
Dioxins are some of the most dangerous
chemicals known to human kind. They cause cancer, birth
defects and infertility.
“Greenpeace will be
monitoring the New Zealand position as it emerges during
the coming week to see whether the government indeed takes
this “hard line” and agrees unconditionally to the ultimate
aim to eliminate dioxins”, says Connor. “Greenpeace still
has not seen the full New Zealand position, so cannot assess
whether the government will in fact join the vast majority
of nations in the aim to eliminate dioxins or whether it
will try to weaken this global aim”.
For further information contact:
Sue Connor in Johannesburg +61 401 770 396
Matilda Bradshaw in Johannesburg +31 6 535 04701
Logan Petley in New
Zealand 025 828028